How come you only defend Ranchos? (October 29, 2015)

One of the new memes used in attacks against my position is that I only defend Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company. That is, I’m not to be trusted (and thus my position is to be discounted) because I never hold Ranchos to account the way I do the Town of Apple Valley (TOAV), and/or that I am not balanced in my approach.

This erroneous critique is not only far removed from any examination of the facts, but also fails to understand either what my position is, or what the facts are.

Let’s first get some preliminaries out of the way.

  1. Ranchos didn’t start this fight. TOAV did. Ranchos doesn’t want this fight. TOAV does. Ranchos is really no good at this type of political dirty-tricks battling. TOAV seems to be getting a real taste for it. Why would I (or anyone else, for that matter) take the side of the bully who started a fight unprovoked, especially a fight against the oldest and arguably most important businesses in town? Ranchos did nothing to instigate this fight. It is up against a government entity that is trying to dictate both the narrative and the facts on this issue, and anyone who doesn’t agree risks feeling the full force and effect of what a run-away government can bring to bear. This is just wrong; everyone should be fighting this.
  2. TOAV has resorted to lies, mischaracterizations, half-truths, hyperbole, and every other form of demagoguery it its disposal. Ranchos has responded with facts. As is common with demagogues throughout history, TOAV has created a phony problem out of whole cloth, and now proposes to have the only solution. I don’t respond well to demagoguery. I’d like to think that others would feel offended by the TOAV’s approach as well.
  3. Everyone must know by now that the TOAV refused to participate in a fora with Ranchos at which each could present its case. What everyone might not know is that I have invited members of the town council to talk with me, one of the residents they claim to represent, to present their side. I have received no substantive response from anyone. Each of these reactions is highly suspicious. On the other hand, I have called Ranchos on occasion with questions, and always received answers. More than that, though, is that Ranchos has called me when important corporate figures will be in town so that I can ask them questions. I almost always take them up on these offers. Without exception, the persons with whom I’ve dealt at Ranchos are honest, straightforward, and knowledgeable. Virtually every time someone from the TOAV opens his mouth, lies or absurdities tumble out — or both. On the honesty scale, TOAV is at the bottom; Ranchos is at the top. No contest.
  4. Ranchos makes documents available without quibble. TOAV does not. Ranchos’ figures add up. TOAV’s figures do not. On the competence scale, TOAV is at the bottom; Ranchos is at the top. No contest.
  5. Ranchos knows what it is doing, and has a plan for the future. TOAV is clueless, and not only struggles with planning, but sometimes gives evidence that it doesn’t even understand why anyone would plan ahead. On the knowledgeability scale, TOAV is at the bottom; Ranchos is at the top. No contest.
  6. Representatives of TOAV pretend to have expertise. The administration and staff at Ranchos actually have expertise, including years of practical knowledge and certifications to match. On the expertise scale, TOAV is at the bottom; Ranchos is at the top. No contest.
  7. Regarding the proposed hostile takeover of AVRWC, TOAV doesn’t know what it’s buying, it doesn’t know what it’s going to cost, it doesn’t know where the money is coming from, doesn’t know what the money is going to cost, doesn’t know how to run a water utility, doesn’t know who is going to run the system, and has a history of failure where water systems are concerned. Ranchos has each of these issues nailed. No contest.

But these factors are just side dishes. The entree is much more fundamental: I’m not fighting for Ranchos, I’m fighting in support of capitalism and the American way.

A free society prospers when government is restrained. Small government is the foundation of our country. It only works when government is limited strictly to doing government stuff, leaving the private sector to do everything else. Our country was based on this core principle, and it flourishes to the extent that it hews to it. Even though most of the freedoms our Founding Fathers gave us are now long gone, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to fight to preserve those few that are left, as well as working toward restoring those we’ve lost.

One of the reasons government must be kept small is that it does nothing as efficiently as the free market (AKA private enterprise). Whether you look at the postal service, Amtrak, the defense establishment, welfare (individual and corporate), social security, Obamacare, education, space exploration, and etc., etc., waste, fraud, and corruption are omnipresent when government is involved. Where government is involved, accountability and transparency are about as common as unicorns. And I’m not talking just about the federal government, as we see these same issues right here in Apple Valley.

Given all of these points, it stands to reason that anyone who cares about the American way of life would not want government, including local government, to take over anything, including a water system.

Opposing the TOAV’s hostile takeover of Ranchos is a way of applying the abstract ideology of freedom to the real world. It is less important that Ranchos might benefit from my efforts than it is that I fight for freedom and fairness, regardless of (or even despite) the actual entities involved. As the saying goes, All politics is local, and a fight such as this is about as local as it gets.

One more thing.

Like Ranchos, this is a fight I neither wanted nor welcomed. My life would be perfectly happy without battling TOAV to preserve our better way of life. The Town Council has taken plenty of actions I didn’t like over the years I’ve lived in Apple Valley, but avoiding involvement and maintaining my comfortable existence was more important to me than fighting city hall. The attacks on Ranchos were what broke the camel’s back, so to speak. If you think I’m too loud or too annoying or too persistent or too one-sided or flawed in whatever other way, you have the TOAV to thank both for my involvement in this matter and for my very genesis as the TOAV’s bête noire.

Now, can we get back to discussing the facts?

Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.